Number of foreign workers continues to grow in Czechia
The number of foreign workers coming to Czechia continues to grow, as new data compiled by the Czech Statistical Office shows. To understand these new trends, we spoke with Dalibor Holý, Director of the Labour Market and Equal Opportunities Statistics Department.
“The numbers of foreigners are growing gradually, and it’s because they are filling in the gaps in the labor market. We have a very low unemployment rate and growing wages, quicker than the western part of the EU. It looks somehow like a brain drain from Eastern Europe.”
Is it a specific kind of labor that foreigners are doing or is it a variety of work?
“There are two extremes. Blue collar workers which are in factories predominantly that have the same wages as Czechs. The second extreme is foreign managers and professionals, they earn higher salaries than Czech nationals, sometimes twice as high. It looks like a brain drain because it’s the ICT sector and high value added sector, and they are part of shortening the gap between Eastern and Western Europe.”
With more foreigners coming into the Czech labor market, how do you think it will change the market exactly? Will there be more jobs created for Czechs additionally since the unemployment level is quite low?
“It’s a puzzle because you have to know we are speaking about the lack of adaptability of Czech employers. When unemployment is really low and there is not a sufficient replacement of the labor force, employers can change the work organization by increasing wages to compete with labor forces from other firms, that’s an adaptation. If you take the labor force from other countries, that is not an adaptation, you just go on without any changes.”
Do you think the number of foreign workers will keep growing as Czechia becomes a more appealing destination to be a foreign worker?
“There are various flows from other countries into the Czech Republic, and the trend in numbers is quite similar. In 2014 there were 261,000 foreign workers in the Czech economy, and in 2022 we had 793,000. So it’s tripled, and this is a trend. I can’t imagine the future, but the trend is very simple.”